"Grit & Grace" was recorded over many years, beginning and ending with live recordings from 2006 and 2011. With Sean's most-performed 3 string guitar piece "Viennawaterfalls" bookending the album in both live and studio performances, "Grit & Grace" represents more than a decade of experimenting, composing, and performing on this utterly unique instrument.
Recorded at Big Red Studios with the help of Windham Hill veteran Billy Oskay, "Viennawaterfalls" opens the album with the brilliance of a sunrise.
Sean's two string guitar composition "Two Threads" continues the flow of the album with its bittersweet counterpoint expressing a deep longing and heroic redemption. This was the first composition that started Sean's experimentation with less strings. [For the full history of the birth of the 3 string guitar please read the complete album notes on the "Viennawaterfalls" single page here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/seanfrenette3]
Next is the title track "Grit & Grace", a Romantic style classical guitar tremolo piece that explores a dynamic conversation between moods both plaintive and exuberant.
"Hope" was composed as the Iraq war began in 2003. Angular chords in the introduction invoke the painful visions of war. Interlocking rhythms build at the climax, representing a quickening of communication and compassion which culminates in a hopeful vision of peace, understanding, and cooperation.
"Peace" almost seems to pick right up where "Hope" left off, but it describes the more personal, internal peace necessary to sustain such a grand vision for our world. The two string guitar and cello literally follow the slow, deep, relaxed breaths of the performers with soaring and simple harmonies over a backdrop of sweet birdsong captured during Sean's cross country trip in 2008. Featured on this track is cellist Gabrielle Athayde.
"Raga Yaman (Live 2006)" was recorded in a beautiful three story home in Connecticut just as the sun was setting. Looking out through the enormous westward facing windows, Sean improvised an alap in homage to his deep love for Indian classical music and this exquisite sunset raga. Chris Pereji enters on tabla to provide wonderful rhythmic accompaniment for a brief instrumental performance of the well-known composition "Pia ki Nazariya".
"Viennawaterfalls (Live 2006)" was recorded during the opening of Sean's senior recital at New England Conservatory. [A video of this performance can also be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8KQt-nvovc]
"Raga Yaman (Live 2011)" and "Viennawaterfalls (Live 2011), were recorded during a concert in Missoula, MT. These tracks give listeners of Sean's most recent live performances versions which are similar to what they heard. Extended and spacious, they bring a meditative and contemplative close to the album.
More about Sean Frenette:
Guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer Sean Frenette has been delighting audiences across the North America with the passion, innovation, and spirit of his unique musical performances. A graduate of New England Conservatory, Frenette has performed 3 times at Carnegie Hall: with Edgar Meyer & Mike Marshall in 2006, Zakir Hussain in 2009, and composer John Adams & Juilliard’s Ensemble ACJW in 2010. The past five years have seen Sean touring nationwide with many different musical projects: with vocalist Lindsey Stormo, conductor Matt Butler’s Everyone Orchestra, vocalist/composer Peia, and internationally-renown kirtan ensemble Shantala.
With 3 string guitar, electric-classical guitar, woodwinds, bass, piano and voice, Sean's original music artfully blends improvisation and slow-crafted composition, as well as influences that run the gamut—Michael Hedges, Andres Segovia, classical Indian music, Gregorian chant, Bach, and Jimi Hendrix to name few. From his synthesis of innovation and tradition emerges a vibrant and enchanting musical tapestry.